Campus Ministry

Alternative Breaks Student Reflections 2017-2018

Dominican Republic Trip Reflection  -  By Nicole Procopio

I was lucky enough to start my new year in 2018 off a little differently than others. Before the semester started in January I was in the Dominican Republic, co-leading a group of nine amazing Alvernia students who share the same interest of helping others and making a difference.

The culture shock was not something we expected, we thought we had planned and prepared for the trip tremendously well. The area of the Dominican Republic that we visited was nothing like areas in the United State; people live under tin roofs, sometimes in the dark because of blackouts that occur almost every day (we experienced over 20 in one week) and old cars and motorcycles crowd the small streets, which were covered in potholes. Dogs, covered in mud, wander around the town with no owners and it was so hard not to pet them or try to bring them home.

As hard as all that was to see, it was the children who were a gift to be around every day. Their school is a home for grades kindergarten through fifth grade. By home, I mean that it was their escape from al the outside distractions. They called us the Americans, and all they wanted to do, instead of learning, was play with our hair, dance to music, or play in the school yard. We were impressed by their knowledge of the English language. Most of the kids could introduce themselves and call us friends. As the week went on we learned that it wasn’t hard to communicate even though we couldn't speak their language. We shared laughs and handshakes and left them with memories they will never forget.

I have never been given an opportunity like this before. I was proud of the group for working so hard to make the week successful. Long lasting friendships were created through this amazing week-long experience. Our view of poverty has a deep meaning within us now through what we experienced in the Dominican Republic. I cannot imagine what else we will do in our futures to continue making a difference for others.

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